Le Moana Dance Company have come full circle ending their two week 1918 Centennial Tour by marching in the Independence Day parade yesterday.
After presenting workshops and performances all around Savaii and Upolu, the eight member cast and their Director were excited to end their tour on a strong note by commemorating Samoa’s Independence Day.
“We leave for New Zealand this evening and we would not have missed this event for anything. It’s obviously amazing to be a part of the Independence Day celebrations today,” said Le Moana Creative Director, Tupe Lualua whose team marched together with the New Zealand High Commission office.
“But it also kind of reminds us of what we already know and that’s the importance of honouring Samoa in all her beauty and acknowledging the fact that Independence came with complexities. All great things come with challenges and tensions.”
The Victoria University Wellington Pacific Studies lecturer was referring to the historical period that preceded Samoa’s independence which involved the pandemic influenza of Samoa and the Mau movements,
“It’s really our job as storytellers to just do what we do in the best way that we can, and in doing so try to serve and empower our peoples.”
For some of the New Zealand born Samoan dancers, it is their first time experiencing or participating in Samoa’s Independence Day celebrations and Ms Lualua said that for her team it was a special moment especially at the tail end of their tour of Samoa,
“Our dancers have had a beautiful, magical experience in Samoa. They have learnt so much from the spaces and the people in them that we encountered along our tour here. We actually choreographed a new dance piece while we were in Savaii for an upcoming Auckland festival based off the vibe and movements we were inspired by during our time there.”
“The tour has been epic. Being here has taught us that regardless of political entities, regardless of institutions, regardless of peoples’ thoughts and feelings on how important or not important Arts are in Samoa – we will actually just continue to do what we do because we know how important it is to serve work through arts because 30 kids will come watch 1918 but 30 kids will not read a P.H.D thesis.”